Online Program

Dimensions and regimes of social cohesion and the impact on self-reported health

Monday, November 4, 2013

Ying-Chih Chuang, PHD, School of Public Health, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
The concept of social cohesion has invoked debate due to the vagueness of its definition and the limitations of current measurements. This paper attempts to examine the concept of social cohesion, develop measurements, and investigate the relationship between social cohesion and individual health. Study samples were from the 2000 World Value Survey and the 2002 European Value Survey (47,923 participants in 29 countries). National-level social cohesion statistics were obtained from Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development datasets, World Development Indicators, and Asian Development Bank key indicators and from aggregating responses from the World Value Survey. The factor analysis was applied to identify dimensions of social cohesion, which were used as entities in the cluster analysis to generate a regime typology of social cohesion. Factor analysis identified four dimensions of social cohesion: liberal attitudes, social development, equality attitudes, and social capital. Then, the cluster analysis revealed five regimes of social cohesion: Liberal, Nordic, conservative and Eastern European, Southern European, and East Asian. A multi-level analysis showed that respondents in countries with higher scores in liberal attitudes and social capital dimensions were more likely to report good health above and beyond individual-level characteristics. In terms of the influence of social cohesion regime on health, respondents in East Asian regime and the conservative and Eastern European regime had a lower likelihood of reporting good health compared to the liberal regime. Future research needs to further identify possible pathways by which social cohesion influences various health outcomes.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Define the concept of social cohesion, develop measurements, and assess the relationship between social cohesion and individual health

Keyword(s): Social Inequalities, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator of several grants funded by National Science Councils in Taiwan focusing on the cross-nation variation in the influences of political and economic factors on population and individual health. I am primarily interested in contextual influences on health, theoretical and methodological issues concerning health inequality.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.